A Bengali child actor in India has donated his first paycheck to Mother Teresa's order, the Missionaries of Charity.
Akash Mukherjee, a fifth grade student at St. Xavier's Collegiate School in Kolkata, landed a role “by chance” in an upcoming Bengali-language film, “Anubhav-Ekta Chheler Goppo,” or “Feelings: The Story of a Lonely Child.”
However, rather than keeping his paycheck of 100,000 rupees – nearly $2,000 – for himself, he decided to donate it all to the Missionaries of Charity Mother House in Kolkata, UCA News reported.
In 2011, India's average annual income was $1,410 according to World Bank statistics.
“I wanted to share my first earnings with the not-so-fortunate children of the city,” Akash said. “I would have loved to buy something for my parents, too, but I think that can wait for another time,” he told The Times of India.
Akash said his hand shook while writing his first ever check for Sister Mary Prema, the second nun to lead the Missionaries of Charity since Mother Teresa's death in 1997, because he wanted to “get it right.”
After accepting the donation, the German-born superior general took him on a tour of the order's headquarters, which included a look at Mother Teresa's 5-by-12 feet room.
“So small! How did she live there?” he asked.
Akash first began visiting the Missionaries of Charity when his parents took him to visit Nirmal Hriday or “Home of the Pure Heart,” the congregation's home for the dying and destitute, on his fifth birthday.
Since then, Akash, the only child of Manisha and Gora Mukherjee, has celebrated his Aug. 26 birthday – which falls on the same day as Mother Teresa's – by sharing cake and giving his toys to children at the Missionaries' nearby orphanage, Shishu Bhavan or “Children's Home.”
“We wanted him to grow up with a sense of awareness of the world around him and the importance of sharing and giving,” Akash's mother Manisha told UCA News.
Although Akash found it difficult to give his toys, and eventually his first paycheck, to those less fortunate, he said that he would like to continue donating “whatever I get on my birthday” to the Missionaries.
“Anubhav-Ekta Chheler Goppo” follows the story of a young boy who overcomes his loneliness to find happiness and is directed by Rajesh Datta and Ipsita Roy Sarkar.
Since its 1950 founding, the Missionaries of Charity has grown to close to 4,500 members serving the poor and needy in countries all over the world.